Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scottish Seed Cake

Seed Cake is a very old type of cake, which was very popular for hundreds of years. It was traditionally made for social gatherings, agricultural harvests and feast days, etc. and so the Seed Cake can truly be said to be the cake of the people. It is a real shame that it is not made more often, and has now faded from our kitchens
. Here we are using the caraway seed to flavor the cake, (giving an almost sweet aniseed taste). Caraway is a type of seed common to both cake and biscuit recipes of the Medieval and Tudor periods; and the English usage of the term Caraway dates back to at least 1440 A.D.


Seed Cake ( I can not remember where I found this recipe-) 


¾ cup butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel ( I used 3 very large lemons- I  put in 4 tablespoons! )
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon each caraway seed, poppy seed and anise seed
powdered sugar


With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly, and then add lemon peel.

Mix flour with baking powder and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with milk; blend well.

Butter and flour-dust a 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup fluted tube cake pan. Spoon about one fourth of the batter into pan and scatter caraway seed on top. Cover with one third of remaining batter and sprinkle with poppy seed. Cover with half of remaining batter. Scatter anise seed on top. Cover with remaining batter.

Bake at 350° F for about 1 hour or until a wooden pick, inserted, comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. If made ahead, wrap airtight and freeze; thaw unwrapped. 
To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cut in thin slices. Makes 12-16 servings. I made a lemon glaze.

My goal is to introduce you to something different. ( most of the time). There is no way I and my family can eat all that I bake. Fortunately for me, my husband works with a fantastic group of people ( Shout out-Southern A&E) . They are not just colleagues, they are friends. They have supported my family thru good, and a lot of bad. ( too much to explain here)  They do it from the heart, and with the biggest smiles. They are an extended family. <3.

So how do I show my appreciation? I make them eat all the ridiculous goodies I bake in  my kitchen. That's right folks. I use them as human guinea pigs. And you know what? They do it with the biggest smiles on their faces, from the heart! ( LOVE THEM). Someone baked a simple Snickers cake, and thought it was mine. Until they reminded each other." No way , that is not Asthe's cake, it is not obscure enough"

The above recipe, is a doozie. The combination of caraway, poppy and anise. This is gonna get ugly. However, as my own worst enemy, I had to bake it. It screamed to me, called out to me in it's thickest Sean Connery accent, BAKE ME! 

So i did. I am glad i did. I have never had a more beautiful pound cake in all my life. I do not know if i mixed it different , longer, or what? I added the eggs one at a time and really beat after each one. Usually i am in a rush, and i do not think I let this develop as long as I should. 

The texture was a tight , light crumb. The taste? Unusual., but not bad. The flavors were not strong at all. The caraway was subtle. The anise almost non existent. They poppy added that cool  "grinding crunch" when you ate it. Tiny bursts of nutmeg.  I have to say i love it. 

I will tell you I made a mistake when layering the cake. I did not portion out the batter correctly, and all caraway seeds mixed all over the cake, except the poppy. You can see it in the picture, looking like a tunnel. If done correctly, i am sure it would have a better presentation when sliced. The anise you can not even see, it folds into the cake on top  when baked. You see a dark ring, and since it is flipped over......

I will use this base over and over again, and change the spices and flavors. It will be my " go too" pound cake . 



  1. I was just telling my husband last night that I wish we knew more people so I could bake new things more often! The cake looks gorgeous and I adore poppy seeds. It looks like the cake would make a nice base. I wonder if raspberries or blueberries would work with it?

  2. I just love this...I need a bundt, I love the poppy seeds. What a nice suprise.

  3. Thanks Lauren.. I am not sure about fruit, but you could try it. Maybe need to decrease the milk??? for the extra moisture from the fruit? Or i guess you could use dried. in layers would be awesome :)